Monterey Park

Jan 24, 2011

America’s Chinatown

The Facts
What It Is:
A 7.7-square-mile city eight miles south of Pasadena and nine miles east of downtown L.A
Population: 60,051
Ethnic Diversity: 62% Asian, 29% Hispanic and/or Caucasian and darn few African-Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders
Median Household Income: $41,000

Key Players
These pretty hills were originally inhabited by First People Tongva, who, like their Chumash and Shoshone kin, were believed to have used paths alongside nearby waterways as a land route to the ocean. When Spanish explorer Juan Batista de Anza arrived, the green hills of Monterey Park fed his horses, and the Arroyo Seco served as a renewing water source for his famed journey from Mexico to Monterey.

Then & Now
In the 1970s and ’80s, affluent Taiwanese professionals immigrated here, and Mandarin became the dominant Chinese language. Mainland Chinese and Vietnamese arrived later, and today Monterey Park is the first American city with a majority Asian-descent population. In 1986, the then-predominantly white city council ruled that all businesses must post business signs and the nature of the business in English. Capice?

Our Favorite…
Bruggemeyer Memorial Library on Monterey Pass Rd. has staff members who speak Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish and Vietnamese
Park: Garvey Ranch Park, on Orange Ave., for the Wednesday-night Astronomical Society talks and the eight-inch refractor telescope
Market: The Hong Kong and Shun Fat supermarkets, both of which have their flagship stores here
Parade: The annual Lantern Parade, held on Garvey Ave. for Chinese New Year
Newspaper: It’s a toss up—both the Chinese Daily News and the International Daily News are printed here
Hospital: Garfield Medical Center, with full ER, 626.307.2129
Web Site:

Best Hangouts
The Cascades on Kingston St., a jumbo fountain for 1920s homes that never materialized. Thanks, Depression! Also look for El Encanto garden across the street on Mercado.

Don’t Be a Lawbreaker!
Permission in Mandarin and English?
No person shall discharge or explode gunpowder, dynamite, torpedoes…(aw, shucks!) without first having obtained the special permission of the City Council.

Born in Monterey Park
Laura Scudder’s potato chips—Mrs. Scudder lived here and began making her chips in her home kitchen in 1926.



Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena